Thursday, June 30, 2011
Influence of Family Factors and Supervised Alcohol Use on Adolescent Alcohol Use and Harms: Similarities Between Youth in Different Alcohol Policy Contexts
McMorris, B., Catalano, R., Jung Kim, M., Toumbourou, J., and Hemphill, S. May 2011. Journal of Studies and Alcohol and Drugs, Vol. 72, Pages 418-428.
Objective of the Study: Harm-minimization policies suggest that alcohol use is a part of normal adolescent development and that parents should supervise their children’s use to encourage responsible drinking. Zero-tolerance policies suggest that all underage alcohol use should be discouraged. This article compared hypotheses derived from harm minimization and zero-tolerance policies regarding the influence of family context and supervised drinking on adolescent alcohol use and related harms among adolescents in Washington State, USA, and Victoria, Australia, two states that have respectively adopted zero-tolerance and harm-minimization policies.
Method: Representative samples of seventh-grade students (N = 1,945; 989 females) were recruited from schools in each state. Students completed comprehensive questionnaires on alcohol use, related problem behaviors, and risk and protective factors annually from 2002 to 2004 when they were in ninth grade.
Results: Relationships between family context and alcohol use and harmful use were very similar in both states. Adult-supervised settings for alcohol use were associated with higher levels of harmful alcohol consequences. Adult-supervised alcohol use mediated the links between favorable parental attitudes to alcohol use and ninth-grade alcohol use for students in both states.
Conclusions: Despite policy differences in the two states, relationships between family context variables and alcohol use and harmful use are remarkably similar. Adult-supervised settings for alcohol use resulted in higher levels of harmful alcohol consequences, contrary to predictions derived from harm-minimization policy. Findings challenge the harm-minimization position that supervised alcohol use or early-age alcohol use will reduce the development of adolescent alcohol problems.
To learn more about this study, click on http://www.udetc.org/documents/judicial/201106eNews/supervised.pdf or copy and paste this link to your internet browser in order to locate the information.
If you're hosting a party where alcohol is served, make sure to do so responsibly. Some things to keep in mind are:
- Line-up designated drivers or make sleeping accommodations for your guests who are drinking.
- Be sure to serve plenty of non-alcoholic drinks.
- Serve enough substantive food. Consumption of food will help absorb alcohol.
- Stop serving alcohol at a set time. This will give guests a chance to sober up.
- If your guests are intoxicated -- take away the keys. If you let someone leave your home after they've had too much to drink, you could be held responsible if they hurt themselves or someone else.
- Don't serve to minors. It's illegal, dangerous and irresponsible.
If you're doing some traveling, here are a few tips:
- Whenever you plan on using alcohol, designate a sober driver before going out and give that person the keys.
- If you're impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
- Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement.
- Wearing your safety belt or if you're riding a motorcycle, make sure to wear a helmet and other protective gear.
- While traveling to and from celebrations on your motorcycle, remember to make yourself visible and ride your motorcycle where you can be seen to avoid a crash.
- If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
Monday, June 27, 2011
troubled teens do get better.